Know Your Bible
June 2005

Who Goes To Heaven?

In the Huntsville Times of March 11, 2005, an article by Amy Green appeared under the above heading. We quote from the article and then review what is said.

"Theologians and spiritual leaders have grappled with the question for centuries. Who goes to heaven? And perhaps more troubling, who doesn't?

"Just who goes to heaven? It no longer is an abstract question but a personal one for Christians, especially those with non-Christian loved ones. With the country growing more diverse and a new emphasis on inter-religious relations after the Sept. 11 attacks, the question is a hot one for congregations and academics alike.

"The belief that Christians are saved by Jesus' resurrection is a cornerstone of the faith. The verse, Jno. 14:6, in which Jesus says, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' is most often recited as biblical evidence of the traditional belief that one must commit one's life to Christ to go to heaven.

"But in today's increasingly diverse country, more Christians are asking how they can maintain this belief without seeming intolerant. Some argue it is but one interpretation of the Bible. This is just one factor reinvigorating the centuries-old debate.

"In recent years, two different beliefs have been gaining ground. One asserts salvation is possible outside Christianity but only because of Jesus' resurrection, and so it is a Christian salvation. A newer one says because God is at work in other faiths, those followers are saved, too.

"No matter what some scholars may argue, the message of the New Testament is clear, says William Cook, professor of New Testament interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He points to passages such as Acts 4:12, which, referring to Jesus, says, 'Salvation is found in no one else.'"

Good Question: -- Who has the true answer? The atheist or unbeliever says no one goes, for there is no such place. Others will say that any "good person" will go. The Jew says one may go without faith in Jesus Christ. The average protestant says one who believes in Christ -- just a mental ascent -- will go to heaven without any overt act of obedience. So you see, the answers are different and often contrary!

We must allow Jesus and His apostles to answer this question of serious and eternal significance.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23). This shows who will go, and that many who think so, will not go.

John 14:6 is very clear. We must go by Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that we are speaking of people living today when God speaks through His Son in the New Testament. We will be judged by that law (Jn. 12:48).

The terms of salvation through Christ were declared on the Day of Pentecost of Acts chapter two. Peter and the other apostles preached the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and coronation of Jesus Christ to those who were in Jerusalem for that observance. Three thousand believed what was preached and ask what they should do. As believers, they were told to repent and be baptized for (unto) the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). And they that received the word were baptized (vs. 41). They were added to or became the body or church of Christ. The Lord continued to add daily to the church, "those who were being saved" (vs. 47).

Elsewhere in the New Testament, the saved are said to be only those who are "in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:3). Believers enter into Christ by baptism (Rom. 6:3-5 and Gal. 3:26,27).

The New Testament closes with the promise, "Blessed are those who do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14). There again, we have the answer to the question, "Who goes to Heaven?" Our "diverse country" or "seeming intolerance" is totally irrelevant to the question and God's answer. Society is not the standard of judgment.

Mr. Cook's reference to Acts 4:12 is correct, but the verse says that salvation is in the name of Christ, not John the Baptist or anyone else who ever lived. That's why we are called Christians and that only.

---Eugene Brittnell
in The Sower, Vol.50, No.3, May/June, 2005.

Page 1

Is This The Truth?

Ask a denominational preacher if what he preaches is the truth and he will surely say, "YES". Ask him if one must believe the truth in order to be saved and he will no doubt say, "YES". But, ask him if one must believe the particular doctrine which he preaches in order to be saved and he will probably answer, "NO". (Now, make sense out of that!)


The Bible teaches man is saved by God (Titus 3:4-5), Love, (John 3:16), Mercy (Titus 3:4-5), Grace (Ephesians 2:9), Christ (Matthew 1:21), Blood (1 Peter 1:18-19), Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11), Gospel (Romans 1:16-17), Faith (Romans 5:1), Repentance (Acts 17:30), Confession (Romans 10:10), Works of Faith (James 2:24), Baptism (1 Peter 3:21).

The Bible nowhere teaches men are saved by any one thing only!

---Richie Thetford

Page 2

Back To Know Your Bible Home Page